My daughter, Babita

I met Babita when she was 12, two years after we first placed her picture on our refrigerator.

It was the summer of 2009, and finally, yes, finally, after years of prayer, I was in Nepal, a country that God had placed in my heart before I ever knew a thing about it.

There she was, at a children’s home in Kathmandu, where she had come to stay a few years earlier. It was an awkward meeting in front of the other children, me handing her a teddy bear just like all the others that each of our children, who at that point numbered five, had tucked in their beds at home.

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Not yes

It should have been a yes. It should have been a yes, and right now, I should be finding a way to finance a celebratory dinner at Pizza Hut (her request) for eleven elated family members about to embark together on a new and thrilling adventure.

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Upside down

I’ve spent a lot of time lately pondering the innate upside down truths of the Gospel. Dying to live. Loving enemies. The meek inheriting the earth. All of it is foolishness … and yet, I have seen it, lived it, been blessed by it. My story is full of moments where what should not be was, and what man called impossible came to pass.

I bet yours is, too.

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My son’s first voice

Eight years ago this week, we were settling in to the new normal of life with Phineas. In the six years since Jack had been born, we had inched slowly towards the kind of independence that only a family who has left behind the season of little ones understands. There were no sippy cups to tote, no nap times to schedule around, no need to keep the Legos off the floor or the kitchen cabinets secured. Suddenly we were back to navigating all of that and more: the 24/7 work of peeling back the layers of quiet contemplation that masked Phin’s personality and revealed to us just who he was, and why.

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The Velveteen Mother

I had been expecting it since the day we first considered adopting. Yet when it happened, my heart was still shattered.

It was a simple exchange, a random interaction in the course of an already-full  Sunday morning. Shoes being tied, crockpot being loaded into the van for the fellowship meal, change the baby’s diaper, has anyone let the dog go out before we leave?

From my bedroom window, Birdie and John Mark watched Mary Hannah pull out of the driveway with her friend, visiting from Georgia. Thoughtful, Birdie looked up at her big brother.

“How come her friend is here all alone? Where’s her mother?”

“Her mom just isn’t here,” he shrugged. “You know, like my real mom isn’t here?”

And suddenly, I could not breathe.

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The 5 Day Adoption {giveaway}

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are his, the rivers are his, the stars are His handiwork, too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!

Already, at 8 months, Jude knows this song. His eyes brighten I begin to sing it, his body lurches forward, waiting for me to grab his hands and lead him through the motions of mimicking mountain peaks and the river’s waves. This is one of the first songs I teach my children — because I want them to believe it, more than they believe anything.

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Phin’s day—and why everything you assume about FASD is wrong

I’ve learned the hard way expect a backlash when I engage the public on the topic of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Some of the most hurtful Facebook debates (I can’t call them conversations) on my personal wall have stemmed from my sharing articles about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). A wiser woman would probably cease and desist, would simply say, “Hey, you wanna drink when pregnant? Go ahead.” But I can’t.

Why? Because I love a child affected by alcohol.

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The Author

It never ceases to amaze me how God takes a tiny cluster of cells and blossoms it into a distinct, unique creation in a matter of weeks.

I am equally stunned every time I have the honor of witnessing a tiny person unfold from the first fitful breaths into a smiling, laughing baby discovering his own abilities just a few months after emerging from the womb. Continue reading